Dentists recommend seeing children for the first time when they have begun to cut teeth, by the time they have celebrated a first birthday. A first visit is primarily about allowing a child to get comfortable in the dentist’s chair and about educating you, the parent, on how to care for your child’s baby teeth. Most children who visit at this age will not remember the visit, but it will lay the foundation for positive experiences in the dental chair in the future.
Once children reach the approximate age of 5, they will have their first set of X-rays taken. The family dentist will review them to look for cavities between the teeth and to check proper development of dormant permanent teeth.
As children age, between 6 and 12 years, they will lose their baby teeth and permanent teeth will begin to erupt. At this time, your family dentist may recommend a tooth sealant. This plastic resin bonds to the “flat” chewing surface of a tooth, protecting it from debris and decay in the crevices.
Your family dentist may also give your child an orthodontic evaluation. Most pediatric patients begin orthodontics once all of their permanent teeth have erupted; however, some patients benefit from staged orthodontics and can begin treatment much sooner.
If your child has been seeing a dentist since infancy, introducing the child to the dentist isn’t an issue; your child already knows and trusts your family dentist. If you are bringing your child to the dentist for the first time as a toddler or kindergarten student, you should plan to spend some time talking about what to expect.
Many times, having parents sit in the dental chair and then hold their child on their laps is very comforting to the patient. Your family dentist has experience in dealing with fearful or anxious children and will know what to do in each case. Often, videos or music are employed to relax young patients.
You can trust your family dentist with each member of your family, no matter what the age. Talk to your family dentist today with any questions you may have about your child’s first dental appointment.
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